Image: H&M

Global fashion retailer H&M recently launched its fourth Conscious Exclusive collection.

The stunning array of clothes shows what can be done with sustainable materials like hemp, organic linen and organic leather.

Of course, eco-friendly and socially conscious fashion is not entirely new. French footwear brand Veja is famous for its fair trade organic cotton, wild rubber and chemical-free, vegetable-tanned leather. A million pairs have been sold since 2005.

Stella McCartney was among the first of the high-end luxury labels to commit to socially conscious and sustainable fashion back in 2001.

But the hefty price tags mean that only a few can afford and relate to the cause.

H&M is making the concept of eco-fashion more accessible and affordable for ordinary folk.

This year’s Conscious Exclusive collection takes inspiration from the planet, with a focus on the versatility of the dress. My favourite is the organic linen skirt printed with gorgeous hand-drawn images of birds and feathers.

The use of more sustainable material in the collection is varied and comprehensive, from the recycled beads on a flapper dress to the organic leather used for a minimalist jacket and stack-heeled sandals.

H&M is also the first fashion company to have a garment collecting initiative.

Collecting boxes are placed at every cash point in all their stores, receiving unwanted pieces of any brand which will eventually be re-worn, reused or recycled.

For each bag of unwanted clothes, the donor will receive a $10 discount voucher with a minimum spending of $80 in H&M stores in Singapore.

That is not all – for each kilogram of unwanted clothing collected, H&M Singapore will donate two euro cents per kg to The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund.

Stella McCartney is available at The Shopping Gallery, Hilton hotel.

Veja is available at Tangs

The Conscious Exclusive collection is available now at the H&M Orchard Building flagship store.

This article was first published on The New Paper on April 19, 2015.